Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 27, 1886

Sermon/Building on the Rock

Copenhagen, Denmark

July 25, 1886

Portions of this manuscript are published in TDG 215; Ev 595-596.

July 25, 1886

(Morning talk at Copenhagen by Mrs. E. G. White,)

“Whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 1

“And everyone that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 2

As the people sat upon the hillside, listening to the words of Christ, they could see valleys and ravines through which the mountain streams found their way to the sea. In summer these streams often wholly disappeared, leaving only a dry and dusty channel. But when the wintry storms burst upon the hills, the rivers became fierce, raging torrents, at times overspreading the valleys, and bearing everything away on their resistless flood. Often, then, the hovels reared by the peasants on the grassy plain, apparently beyond reach of danger, were swept away. But high upon the hill were houses built upon the rock. In some parts of the land were dwellings built wholly of rock, and many of them had withstood the tempests of a thousand years. These houses were reared with toil and great difficulty. They were not easy of access, and their location appeared less easy of access than the grassy plain. But they were founded upon the rock; and wind and flood and tempest beat upon them in vain. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 3

Those who hear and obey the words of Christ are building upon the rock, and when the tempest comes, their house will not be overthrown. They will through faith in Christ Jesus gain eternal life. Those who are hearers, but not doers of His words, are building upon a foundation of uncertainty which is sand, and calamity will overtake them. Had Adam and Eve heeded the words that God spoke to them in the beginning, they would not have fallen from their first estate. Our Saviour met temptation in a stronger, fiercer form than it was presented to Adam, and His only weapon was one that is within the reach of all—the Word of God. When Satan came to Christ in His weakness, and told him to satisfy His hunger by turning the stones into bread, and thus prove Himself to be the Son of God, Christ answered, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 4

Just before speaking the words that I have taken for my text, Christ spoke words of special warning: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” Matthew 7:13. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 5

The reason so few find the way that leads to heaven and safety is that they do not heed the words of Christ. They may hear them, but this does not avail if, after hearing, they still follow in their own course of unbelief and sinful indulgences, and then when they are not blessed, complain, as is represented in the 58th chapter of Isaiah. To lose eternal life is to lose everything. Let us put forth every effort in our power to press through the strait gate and walk in the narrow path that leads to heaven. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 6

We shall meet with false doctrines of every kind, and unless we are acquainted with what Christ has said, and are following His instructions, we shall be led astray. One of the most dangerous of these doctrines is that of false sanctification. There are those who claim to be holy, and yet are breaking God’s commandments. Their assertion that they are sinless is false and should not be received. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 7

Holiness means perfect obedience to God’s law—“Thou shalt” and “thou shalt not.” Those who pay no heed to this law, except to tear it down by their unsanctified actions, are in rebellion against God and cannot possibly be holy. Not only do they break the law themselves, but by their transgression they teach others to break it; and unless they repent, heavy will be their punishment. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 8

Christ declared, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17, 18. And He says again, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:20. Are those who so boldly claim to be sanctified doing the works of Christ? Are they holding up before the people the law of God given on Mount Sinai? They declare that they have with them the power of God, but the Scriptures declare: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 9

Christ declares, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils: and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 10

Another doctrine that will be presented is that all that we have to do is to believe in Christ—to believe that He has forgiven our sins, and that after we are forgiven, it is impossible for us to sin. This is a snare of Satan. It is true that we must believe in Christ. He is our only hope of salvation. But it is also true that we must work out our individual salvation daily in faith, not boastingly, but with fear and trembling. We are to use every power of our being in His service, and after we have done our utmost, we are still to regard ourselves as unprofitable servants. Divine power will unite with our efforts, and as we cling to God with the hand of faith, Christ will impart to us His wisdom and His righteousness. Thus, by His grace we shall be enabled to build upon the sure foundation. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 11

It is not the purpose of God that we should be dwarfs in the religious life. He desires us to be constantly growing in grace and the knowledge of the truth. He wants us to be able to do better work for Him today than we did yesterday. He has for us a heaven full of blessings, and He wants us to claim these blessings, and in our humanity sanctified, glorify God as His obedient disciples. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 12

As we follow on step by step to know the Lord, we need not expect that the way will be free from hindrances. Just as surely as we strive to serve the Lord, so surely will Satan put forth every effort in his power to accomplish our ruin. But help has been laid upon One that is mighty, and to every struggling child of His who asks Him for grace, believing, He comes with the needed aid. We have an all-powerful Saviour who was victorious in His assumed humanity, and we are to press forward in the work of overcoming in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In His strength, which we claim by faith, we are gaining the victory over sin. As temptation after temptation comes to us, we shall remember the conflict that we last gained and shall be armed with increased strength for the next conflict before us. Thus, through the blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony, we are to overcome evil and become established. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 13

Let us make the Scriptures our rule of life. Let us search them diligently and carry out in the daily life the principles that they teach. This is the only genuine higher education possible for us to obtain. In doing this, we shall not only be placing ourselves in close connection with Christ, but we shall help those around us to reveal the power of His grace in doing His commandments. We are enjoined: “Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way.” Hebrews 12:13. We are to keep the example ever before us. If we allow our own feet to be turned out of the narrow path, there are others who will follow the wrong example we set. But if we walk in the narrow path that leads to life eternal, many others may follow us in safe paths. We cannot afford to make a mistake in our steps, lest others be led in false paths. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 14

We cannot be too careful of our influence. If thoughts of unbelief come into your mind, do not utter them. To speak words of unbelief is to sow the seeds of doubt. Those who talk unbelief not only weaken their own faith, but the faith of others. It is our privilege to talk faith and to act faith. The harvest reaped by those who do this will be one of hope and blessedness. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 15

Wherever we go, we may hear words of skepticism. But it is not so common to hear words that establish faith in Jesus. God wants us to be channels of light, not of darkness. He desires us to use in His service every power that He has given us. Our eyes, our ears, our lips, our feet and hands—every gift and capability that we possess—belong to God. All that we do and say should tend to build one another up in love and unity. In unity there is strength; in division, weakness. God wants us to press together. He is waiting to give us the strength that will enable us to overcome the powers of darkness. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 16

In the last days, Satan will work with great power, doing wonders and performing miracles in the sight of men. Why? because he knows his time is short. His agents will have power to deceive. The Word of God declares that if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect. Therefore, we must have a sanctified spirit and discernment. Our only safety is in doing just as Christ has told us. The Saviour has said, “Many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:5. Those who are heeding the words of Christ will not be deceived. They have an infallible guide. Their house is built on the eternal rock, and the storms of trial and temptation cannot overthrow it. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1886, par. 17